North American Advertising: Representation of Self and Others
North American advertising and the representation of the self and the others This study is based on a bilingual computerized corpus of more than a thousand advertisements published in North American magazines and their translations for the French Canadian readership. Drawing primarily on work published in the area of cultural studies (Carroll, Hall, Hofstede, Gudykunst, Lipset, Triandis, Trompenaars, etc.) and on such concepts as low/high context cultures, high/low power distance cultures, universalism/particularism, individualism/collectivism, etc., this paper intends to analyse how the self and the others (the competitors and the readers) are constructed and depicted in the English advertisements and how the translations mediate this representation, particularly when there is a potential face-threatening act, to make it more congruent with the French Canadian cultural norms and values. To this end, this study will identify patterns of linguistic structures in both source and target texts, such as emphasis/understatement, superlatives and comparatives/lack of superlatives and comparatives, use of figures and facts, of the first person pronoun, of modals, etc. This descriptive contrastive analysis should highlight some of the cultural differences between English speaking North Americans and French Canadians.
Keywords: translation, mediation, representation of self, representation of others
Prof Geneviève Quillard
Full professor, Department of French Studies, Royal Military College of Canada